Racial Profiling in the Retail Store: The State of Affairs Regarding Stops for Shoplifting

Richard Hollinger, University of Florida
Dean Dabney, Georgia State University

The practice of using race as the principal criterion for "profiling" and arresting suspected offenders by public law enforcement officers has received a great deal of interest in recent years. Another area where racial profiling allegedly is used to identify law violators involves the crime of shoplifting in retail stores. During the past decade the number of retail store chains that have been involved in civil damage suits for false arrest, illegal detainment, and even wrongful death has increased. This paper reviews the current state affairs regarding the use of race-based profiling in US retail store chains, including the important legal cases and the resultant private security and loss prevention policy issues.

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Updated 05/20/2006